One year ago, Sudan’s military seized power from a transitional civilian government that was working to end three decades of oppression and authoritarian rule. The ousted civilian-led government had been established as a direct result of sustained, unwavering protests by Sudanese citizens – many of them women and youth – demanding a government that would respect their dignity and respond to the needs of the Sudanese people. Over the past 12 months, the military regime has stood in the way of these aspirations, and brutally attempted to stymie the resolve of those seeking civilian rule. This continuing legacy of authoritarian governments and mismanagement is leaving the Sudanese economy in shambles and contributed to resurgent violence across the country. The people of Sudan deserve better.
Over the past year, the United States has been inspired by the unshakable resolve of Sudanese demonstrators who continue to call for the military to step aside for civilian rule, often in the face of state-sponsored brutality. Sudan’s security forces have attacked medical personnel treating the injured, shaved men’s hair in public in an attempt to humiliate them, arbitrarily arrested and harassed countless citizens, raped and sexually harassed female protesters, and fired upon protesters with live bullets and tear gas. This past Sunday in Khartoum, Sudanese security forces shot and killed a protester. The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors says that 118 protestors have been killed in the past year.
As the people of Sudan reflect on the sacrifices, bloodshed, broken promises, and trauma of the past year, the United States stands in solidarity with them and their long-deferred dream of an inclusive democracy that offers a brighter future for all. I am particularly encouraged by recent proposed initiatives – including that of the Sudanese Bar Association – designed to foster the return of a civilian-led government, and I reiterate the call for the military to cede power back to civilian authorities. The United States will continue to support the Sudanese people, and USAID stands ready to expand this support when a credible, civilian-led government is restored.